132 Bn Naira For Nigerian Women Only

 The world recognizes the invaluable role of the Woman in nation building. And this acceptance is supported by countless researches through several years of interest in the themes of women, family and the larger human communities. Unfortunately, many nations have not made investments in women empowerment to match their several-term impacts on the development of their societies.

What women are worth

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” — Diane Mariechild

“Women hold up half the sky.” — Chinese proverb

“Whatever you do, be different – that was the advice my mother gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out.” — Anita Roddick

The CBN Policy
 The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) launched a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) in August 2013. Among other implications, the programme harnesses two elementary factors relevant to the development of Nigeria; one, the factor of the Small and Medium enterprise and, two, the development of Nigerian women.

With a seed capital of N220billion, the programme is set up to reduce the number of Nigerian adults excluded from financial services from 46.3% in 2010 to 20% by 2020. It is however impressive that 60% - N132billion – of this fund is for women who do business. This is in line with a policy of the programme which increases women’s access to financial services by at least 15% annually, to eliminate gender disparity.

Nigeria’s Gender disparity Situation
Hajiya Zainab Maina, former Minister of Women affairs and Social development, in 2014, brought to light some pungent points to explain the gravity of Nigeria’s gender disparity problem.
-          Regardless of their educational qualifications, Nigerian women occupy fewer than 30% of all positions in the public sector and only 17% of senior positions.
-          Women’s economic independence is an essential dimension of women’s empowerment, saying. Improving their access to and control over resources increases investment in human capital, will in turn improve children’s health, nutrition, education and future growth.
-          Though many women are involved in subsistence agriculture and off-farm activities, men are five times more likely than women to own land.
-          Women own 4% of land in the North-East, and just over 10% in the South-East and South-South.
-          60-79% of the rural workforce is women but men are five times more likely to own land.
-          Women occupy 21% of non formal sector positions and only 17 % of this in senior cadre.

The Effect of Empowering Women
Nigeria’s quest to exit the league of poor nations is significantly dependent on the influence of her women. Beyond their renowned role as family builders, there seems to be an inherent commitment to building with the hands. Olufunmilayo Folarinmi of the University of Ibadan Department of Social Work writes that; “Women’s status has received considerable attention as a significant factor affecting demographic behaviour and outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa and in Nigeria particularly”. Hence Koffi Annan’s famous quote applies;
”There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”